Man and Society
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It is difficult or perhaps even impossible to reply to this question. But one thing is quite clear—he would never have become a great general and certainly not an emperor.
He himself was well aware of his debt and in his declining years said, "My son cannot replace me. I could not replace myself.
I am the creature of circumstances. What tribunes of the people were lifted by the tide of events of the French Revolution— Mirabeau, Marat, Robespierre, Danton.
What young, some times even youthful talents that had remained dormant among the people were raised to the heights of revolutionary, military, and organisational activity by the Great October Socialist Revolution. It is sometimes said that society carries the individual as a river carries a boat. This is a pleasant simile, but not exact. An individual does not float with the river; he is the turbulently flowing river itself. The events of social life do not come about by themselves; they are made.
The great and small paths of the laws of history are blazed by human effort and often at the expense of human blood. The laws of history are not charted in advance by superhuman forces; they are made by people, who then submit to their authority as something that is above the individual. The key to the mysteries of human nature is to be found in society.
Society is the human being in his social relations, and every human being is an individual embodiment of social relations, a product not only of the existing social system but of all world history. He absorbs what has been accumulated by the centuries and passed on through traditions. Modern man carries within himself all the ages of history and all his own individual ages as well.
His personality is a concentration of various strata of culture. He is influenced not only by modern mass media, but also by the writings of all times and every nation.
Relation between Individual and Society
He is the living memory of history, the focus of all the wealth of knowledge, abilities, skills, and wisdom that have been amassed through the ages.
Man is a kind of super-dense living atom in the system of social reality. He is a concentration of the actively creative principle in this system. Through myriads of visible and invisible impulses the fruit of people's creative thought in the past continues to nourish him and, through him, contemporary culture.
Sometimes the relation between man and society is interpreted in such a way that the latter seems to be something that goes on around a person, something in which he is immersed. But this is a fundamentally wrong approach. Society does, of course, exist outside the individual as a kind of social environment in the form of a historically shaped system of relations with rich material and spiritual culture that is independent of his will and consciousness.
The individual floats in this environment all his life. But society also exists in the individual himself and could not exist at all, apart from the real activity of its members.
History in itself does nothing. Society possesses no wealth whatever. It fights no battles. It grows no grain. It produces no tools for making things or weapons for destroying them. It is not society as such but man who does all this, who possesses it, who creates everything and fights for everything.
Society is not some impersonal being that uses the individual as a means of achieving its aims. All world history is nothing but the daily activity of individuals pursuing their aims.
Here we are talking not about the actions of individuals who are isolated and concerned only with themselves, but about the actions of the masses, the deeds of historical personalities and peoples. An individual developing within the framework of a social system has both a certain dependence on the whole system of social standards and an autonomy that is an absolutely necessary precondition for the life and development of the system.
The measure of this personal autonomy is historically conditioned and depends on the character of the social system itself. Exceptional rigidity in a social system fascism, for example makes it impossible or extremely difficult for individual innovations in the form of creative activity in various spheres of life to take place, and this inevitably leads to stagnation.
The relationships between the individual and society in history. To return once again to the simile of the river. The history of humankind is like a great river bearing its waters into the ocean of the past. What is past in life does not become something that has never been. No matter how far we go from the past, it still lives to some extent in us and with us. From the very beginning, the character of the man-society relationship changed substantially in accordance with the flow of historical time.
The relationship between the individual and a primitive horde was one thing. Brute force was supreme and instincts were only slightly controlled, although even then there were glimpses of moral standards of cooperation without which any survival, let alone development, would have been impossible. In tribal conditions people were closely bound by ties of blood.
At that time there were no state or legal relationships. Not the individual but the tribe, the genus, was the law-giver. The interests of the individual were syncretised with those of the commune. In the horde and in tribal society there were leaders who had come to the fore by their resourcefulness, brains, agility, strength of will, and so on.
Relationship between Individual and Society
Labour functions were divided on the basis of age and sex, as were the forms of social and other activity. With the development of the socium an ever increasing differentiation of social functions takes place. People acquire private personal rights and duties, personal names, and a constantly growing measure of personal responsibility. The individual gradually becomes a personality, and his relations with society acquire an increasingly complex character.
When the society based on law and the state first arose, people were sharply divided between masters and slaves, rulers and ruled. Slave society with its private property set people against one another. Some individuals began to oppress and exploit others. Feudal society saw the emergence of the hierarchy of castes, making some people totally dependent on others. On the shoulders of the common toiler there grew up an enormous parasitic tree with kings or tsars at its summit.
Human nature develops in man only when he lives in society, only when he shares with his fellow begins a common life. He knows himself and his fellow beings within the framework of society. Indeed, man is social by nature. The social nature is not super-imposed on him or added to him rather it is inborn. It is said that needs and necessities makes man social. Man has many needs and necessities. Out of these different needs social, mental and physical needs are very important and needs fulfillment.
All his needs and necessities compel him to live in society. Many of his needs and necessities will remain unfulfilled without the co-operation of his fellow beings. His psychological safety, social recognition, loves and self-actualization needs only fulfilled only within the course of living in society.
He is totally dependent for his survival upon the existence of society. Human baby is brought up under the care of his parents and family members. He would not survive even a day without the support of society. All his basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, health and education are fulfilled only within the framework of society. He also needs society for his social and mental developments. His need for self-preservation compels him to live in society.
Individual also satisfy his sex needs in a socially accepted way in a society. To fulfill his security concern at the old age individual lives in society. Similarly helplessness at the time of birth compels him to live in society. A nutrition, shelter, warmth and affection need compels him to live in society. Thus for the satisfaction of human wants man lives in society.
Hence it is also true that not only for nature but also for the fulfillment of his needs and necessities man lives in society.
Society not only fulfils his physical needs and determines his social nature but also determines his personality and guides the course of development of human mind.
Development of human mind and self is possible only living in society. Society moulds our attitudes, beliefs, morals, ideals and thereby moulds individual personality. Man acquires a self or personality only living in a society. From birth to death individual acquires different social qualities by social interaction with his fellow beings which moulds his personality.
Individual mind without society remains undeveloped at infant stage. Thus, from the above discussion we conclude that Man is a social animal. His nature and necessities makes him a social being. He also depends on society to be a human being.
He acquires personality within society. There exists a very close relationship between individual and society like that of cells and body. Relation between Individual and Society Human cannot survive without society and societies cannot exist without members. Likewise can competition with other societies strengthen the social system, while wearing out its constituent members?
This idea was voiced by Rousseau who believed that we lived better in the original state of nature than under civilization, and who was for that reason less positive about classic Greek civilization than his contemporaries.
The relation between individual and society has been an interesting and a complex problem at the same time. It can be stated more or less that it has defied all solutions so far. No sociologist has been able to give a solution of the relation between the two that will be fully satisfactory and convincing by reducing the conflict between the two to the minimum and by showing a way in which both will tend to bring about a healthy growth of each other.
Aristotle has treated of the individual only from the point of view of the state and he wants the individual to fit in the mechanism of the state and the society. It is very clear that relation between individual and society are very close.
So we will discuss here Rawls three models of the relation between the individual and society: His most telling argument against the utilitarian position is that it conflates the system of desires of all individuals and arrives at the good for a society by treating it as one large individual choice. It is a summing up over the field of individual desires. Utilitarianism has often been described as individualistic, but Rawls argues convincingly that the classical utilitarian position does not take seriously the plurality and distinctness of individuals .
It applies to society the principle of choice for one man. Rawls also observes that the notion of the ideal observer or the impartial sympathetic spectator is closely bound up with this classical utilitarian position.
It is only from the perspective of some such hypothetical sympathetic ideal person that the various individual interests can be summed over an entire society . The paradigm presented here, and rejected by Rawls, is one in which the interests of society are considered as the interests of one person.The Relationship Between Language and Society - Linguistics
Plurality is ignored, and the desires of individuals are conflated. The tension between individual and society is resolved by subordinating the individual to the social sum. The social order is conceived as a unity. The principles of individual choice, derived from the experience of the self as a unity, are applied to society as a whole.
Rawls rightly rejects this position as being unable to account for justice, except perhaps by some administrative decision that it is desirable for the whole to give individuals some minimum level of liberty and happiness. But individual persons do not enter into the theoretical position.
They are merely sources or directions from which desires are drawn. Justice as Fairness The second paradigm is that which characterizes the original position. It has already been suggested that this is a picture of an aggregate of individuals, mutually disinterested, and conceived primarily as will. While not necessarily egoistic, their interests are each of their own choosing. They have their own life plans.
They coexist on the same geographical territory and they have roughly similar needs and interests so that mutually advantageous cooperation among them is possible. Thus, one can say, in brief, that the circumstances of justice obtain whenever mutually disinterested persons put forward conflicting claims to the division of social advantages under conditions of moderate scarcity . Here the tension between individual and society is resolved in favor of plurality, of an aggregate of mutually disinterested individuals occupying the same space at the same time.
It is resolved in favor of the plural, while giving up any social unity which might obtain. The classical utilitarian model and the original position as sketched by Rawls provide paradigms for two polar ways in which the tension between the plurality of individuals and the unity of social structure might be resolved.
One resolution favors unity and the other favors plurality. It is described as a good, as an end in itself which is a shared end. This paradigm is distinct both from the conflated application to the entire society of the principle of choice for one person and from the conception of society as an aggregate of mutually disinterested individuals.
The idea of a social union is described in contrast to the idea of a private society. A private society is essentially the second model as realized in the actual world. It stems from a consideration of the conditions of the original position as descriptive of a social order. Over against this notion of private society, Rawls proposes his idea of a social union .
It is one in which final ends are shared and communal institutes are valued. Marx and Engels on Relationship between Individuals and Society The direct elaborations of Marx and Engels on relationships between individual action and social process can be divided into three categories for purposes of discussion: Besides, the relationship between individual and society can be viewed from another three angles: Functionalist, Inter-actionist, and Culture and personality.
How Society Affects the Individual? What is the relation between individual and society? Functionalists regard the individual as formed by society through the influence of such institutions as the family, school and workplace.
Early sociologists such as Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim and even Karl Marx were functionalists, examined society as existing apart from the individual.
For Durkheim, society is reality; it is first in origin and importance to the individual. In contrast to Auguste Comte known as father of sociologywho regarded the individual as a mere abstraction, a somewhat more substantial position by Durkheim held that the individual was the recipient of group influence and social heritage. How Is Society Constructed?
How an individual helps in building society? For inter-actionists, it is through the interaction of the people that the society is formed. The main champion of this approach was Max Weber social action theoristwho said that society is built up out of the interpretations of individuals.
The structuralists or functionalists tend to approach the relationship of self individual and society from the point of the influence of society on the individual. A prominent theorist of the last century, Talcott Parsons developed a general theory for the study of society called action theory, based on the methodological principle of voluntarism and the epistemological principle of analytical realism.
The theory attempted to establish a balance between two major methodological traditions: For Parsons, voluntarism established a third alternative between these two. He added that, the structure of society which determines roles and norms, and the cultural system which determines the ultimate values of ends. His theory was severely criticized by George Homans. A recent well-known theorist Anthony Giddens has not accepted the idea of some sociologists that society has an existence over and above individuals.
Culture and Personality View: Or How Individual and Society Interacts? Both the above views are incomplete. In reality, it is not society or individual but it is society and individual which helps in understanding the total reality. The extreme view of individual or society has long been abandoned.
Sociologists from Cooley to the present have recognized that neither society nor the individual can exist without each other. These anthropologists have studied how society shapes or controls individuals and how, in turn, individuals create and change society. Thus, to conclude, it can be stated that the relationship between society and individual is not one-sided.
Both are essential for the comprehension of either. Both go hand in hand, each is essentially dependent on the other. Both are interdependent on each, other. The individual should be subordinated to society and the individual should sacrifice their welfare at the cost of society. Both these views are extreme which see the relationship between individual and society from merely the one or the other side.
But surely all is not harmonious between individual and society. The individual and society interact on one another and depend on one another. Social integration is never complete and harmonious. Conclusion The wellbeing of nations can occur at the cost of the well-being of their citizens, and this seems to have happened in the past. Yet in present day conditions, there is no such conflict.
Society and individual are made mutually dependent and responsible and mutually complementary. The result is that society progresses well with the minimum possible restrictions on the individual.